Recruiting has really been a mixed bag for UTSA this summer. While UTSA has been able to draw commitments from some talented athletes, they've also suffered more defeats on the recruiting trail than in previous years. I was able to chat it up with my good friend Javi Cardenas of BirdsUp.com, UTSA's Rivals affiliate to get his take on UTSA's recruiting class so far. Be sure to check out BirdsUp.com for in-depth coverage and analysis of UTSA recruiting.
Jared: UTSA has lost
four five recruiting battles to Houston, two to SMU, two to Texas State and others to schools like Tulsa, Toledo, Colorado State, Rice, and Arkansas State. While the Roadrunners have never quite been a recruiting powerhouse, this summer has been an ass kicking on the recruiting trail. What do you contribute the inability to close on early offers to?
Javi: I think last year's great recruiting class set a pretty high standard for the program. UTSA was riding all the momentum a young program could want. This year is a completely different story. Other mid-major programs have been taking UTSA to the shed. I think this due to a couple factors, the most obvious of which being facilities. Programs like SMU, Houston, and Colorado State have P5 type facilities. It is very hard for UTSA to compete with the type of money these programs are able to invest into their football facilities. We sometimes forget that UTSA has only been around for 5 years. The money is just not there yet to build fancy new weight rooms or an indoor practice facility. The second factor is the coaching changes made by Houston and SMU. Last year UTSA beat SMU and Houston a multitude of times for recruits. UTSA even got two commitments after beating Houston because recruits made a bet that if UTSA won they would both commit to the Roadrunners. Chad Morris and Tom Herman have taken over the mid-major recruiting game in Texas. UTSA has to regroup quickly.
Jared: Yep, I'm with you on the step up in competition. Even Phil Montgomery at Tulsa is doing a fantastic job getting kids excited about Tulsa. Looking at Tulsa, SMU, and Houston recruiting stuff on Twitter it's clear they're dropping a lot of resources into updating their branding to give an exciting and modern image. That's hard to do at SMU.
How could you see UTSA competing against these other regional mid-major recruiting competitors? Besides winning on the field or finding an extremely generous multi-millionaire donor of course.
Javi: Honestly UTSA does a terrible job growing their brand on social media. UTSA's monetary woes are well documented, so why not use the easiest way to grow your brand for free? You see programs like Houston and SMU use Twitter masterfully. Houston uses the #HTownTakeover thing and SMU uses #StangGang, among others. Although it might sound silly and childish recruits love this stuff. UTSA lacks this ability to create hype. I mean SMU won a total of one game last year, but you can't tell by the way they manipulate their brand. It's more than just hashtags. You can throw out stats, info, important dates, etc. Recruiting has evolved and I feel like UTSA is way behind the curve.